Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Kingdom and the Word

In Matthew 13 we learn a lot about the Kingdom of God (Heaven). And the key to ALL the Kingdom parables is in Jesus' interpretation of the parable of the sower.

First, the field is the world of Mankind.
Then, the good seed is the Word of God.

The field is divided into four different soils - hardened, rocky, weedy, and prepared. Only the prepared soil represents true Christians.

But then, Jesus immediately gives three related parables that by all logic must adhere to the same interpretative guidelines. An enemy comes behind the farmer and sows seed into the good soil (Christians). This "seed" is a counterfeit gospel that nonetheless grows in Christian soil. Is this false Christians or just false doctrine accepted by Christians. It must be the latter, for the SOIL is the Christian, not the seed.

And lest we think that the soil can't accept false seed, yet another seed is sown. This time the farmer himself plants in the prepared soil to grow a different crop in his field. The prepared soil is hungry for different seed and the mustard seed grows quickly into a "tree" into which birds nest. These are the same "birds" that will feast on the unaccepted seed on the wayside. The pleasant shade also deprives some of the grain of life-giving sunlight. The fruit of the mustard plant are in pods that break open to produce MORE fast growing herb plants that, if not harvested, will grow up like kudzu! What seemed like a good idea turns out to be a disaster waiting to happen! By interpretation, this little mustard seed surely represents yet another type of false doctrine -- TRADITION! Not harmful in intself, the spicy seeds can overpower the truly nutrious main course.

And then, there is the harvested wheat -- now three measures of flour -- into which a "woman" places leaven. This has to be one like "that woman Jezebel" (Rev. 2:20) who offers outright lies as true doctrine. This is stuff right straight from Paganism. Over the years it has been Christianized ("sanitized"?) and called our own. But it has done nothing but to make our religion "look good" to those of the world -- just as a fresh baked loaf of bread looks far better than a flat brown piece of pan fried pita bread! And so, if it were possible, the unbelievers that have taken "to heart" some of the good seed would draw the true believers into their "brand" of Christianity.

And so, the Kingdom is the good soil into which three seeds are planted -- God's word, Satan's word, and Man's word. All of these grow together, vying for the heart of the believer. And even after the wheat is fruitful, it can be rendered less useful in the way it is presented. The "seed" planted deep, and early, makes it attractive but puffed up to look far more than it actually is. The useful, though plain, pan bread is left to do the lowly job of sopping up the leftover gravy!

But that gravy holds the nutrition found in the "juices" of the meat - the fat (flavor) and the salt (seasoning). Let us sop up the good stuff!

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